650b sized wheels have generated themselves a cult following, predominantly amongst the randonneuring crowd, and recently in the MTB scene. While the jury is still out, there are those who swear by the wheel size, which lies in-between the standard MTB wheel size of 26 inch and the road standard of 700c. Corey Thompson decided to build himself a rando to try the benefits for himself. The result is spectacular.
Sticking a pin in the map for Olympia, Washington, Corey Thompson is a craftsman who has no website or blog because, frankly, he doesn’t need one. The wait for a Thompson frame is 7-12 months as it is and he obviously wields the flame out of love: it shows. With integrated lighting (how about that rear light) and a Super Nova headlight — powered by a Schmidt Nabendynamo front hub (which can provide up to 50,000 kilometers of trouble free riding between services), custom racks, handcrafted lugs, BB shell and fork crown, this is an industrial strength pièce de résistance.
There is a tradition in the martial arts that states that ‘even the masters have masters’, a refreshing reminder for those who have reached a plateau. So too for Corey, he credits firstly his father for instilling within him the desire to build things for himself from an early age and Bill Stevenson who taught Corey how to build frames.
You often hear stories about chefs who eat baked beans on toast for dinner and cleaners whose home is a mess but they don’t apply to Corey, here is a builder who has produced for himself one of the finest examples in the handmade bicycle scene. It’d be interesting to hear his verdict on 650b wheels now that he’s dirtied up those Grand Bois tires. You can email him here.
Massive thanks to Paul Reynolds for the photography, there’s more images on his flickr stream.